I know it seems everyone is hosting a fundraiser these days and every organization in the area is looking for support in one way or another.

The La Crosse County Library System is no different except that since we rely completely on tax support to operate, any increase in our budget means an increase to taxpayers. That has left us operating with almost the same materials budget for just about the last decade.  

However, the reason we are able to continue to expand our collections is the generosity of the communities we serve. In addition to our regular operating budget, we are fortunate to receive donations in the form of materials, money and volunteer service. Without it, our material collections would stagnate.

Last year, we borrowed an idea from the La Crosse Public Library and hosted our first Leave a Legacy fundraiser modeled after their annual Give-a-Gift event. The idea is that donors select and purchase an item that goes right onto the library shelves of the county library location of their choice.

Through the added generosity of Onalaska residents Margaret Ewert and Gordon Hoffman, who covered our 2011 event start-up costs, we were able to add just over 200 titles to our five locations. Donors selected an item and indicated what they would like on the book dedication, leaving the legacy of a book “in honor” or “in memory” of friends and family members.

Our second annual Leave a Legacy of Books event is now just around the corner. From 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23,  at our Onalaska location (741 Oak Ave. S.), we will once again open the doors to those who would like to participate in enhancing our collections.  

Stop by the open house to enjoy refreshments and the music of Grumpy Old Men as you “shop” for your favorite county library location. This year we will even have a calligrapher on hand to add a special note to your donation. Consider remembering a family member, recognizing a favorite teacher, celebrating a special milestone or just making a new item available to countless readers in the area.

If you are unable to attend the event, stop by the branch of your choice beforehand to select from their Legacy display or check out our website at www.lacrossecountylibrary.org for a donation form.

We are truly honored that our communities support and utilize our locations and look forward to a fun event on the 23rd.

For more information about the event or the libraries in general, contact the administrative center in Holmen at 526-9600 or check us out at www.lacrossecountylibrary.org.

Chris McArdle Rojo is executive director of the La Crosse County Library System.

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